Jupiter at its best
May 2006: The bright gas-giant planets vie for attention this month, with ringed Saturn an evening standout and brilliant Jupiter on view all night.
Ascending to his throne, the king of planets rules May nights. Jupiter rises near sunset, lies highest in the south around midnight, and sets near sunrise. Unlike the twinkling stars in the background, Jupiter shines with a steady light, brilliant at magnitude 2.5. Combined with its pale peach color, these characteristics may disguise it as a distant plane's landing light.